The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Squarespace Template

Squarespace has a whole bunch of templates to choose from, and it can be a little overwhelming if you're not sure what you're looking for. We're going to make sense of it all in the blog post. Strap yourself in, it's a bigun!

 

1. WHAT IS YOUR WEBSITE ABOUT?

The best way to start any website is to work out the purpose of the site. Most sites fit into one of five categories, so the first thing we're going to determine is what your site is going to be. Take a moment to think about what your site's top priority is. It could have multiple uses but try and figure out the one main thing.

  • Single holding page before your big launch
  • A portfolio site 
  • A blog
  • A full blown website
  • Sell your stuff

Get a bit of paper and write this down. This drives all the decisions you're going to make. Commit to this because once you see all the lovely templates, you'll want to use them all!

Let’s say that your site’s top priority is to sell stuff then a template that is more orientated towards E-Commerce is better than a Portfolio site and a Musician template isn’t going to work all that great for a blog. This is why we decided what the main purpose of your site at the start. 

 

2. THE THREE FLAVOURS OF SQUARESPACE

Squarespace comes in three flavours;

  1. Cover Pages - A single page website that can be used as a holding page, collect email addresses, announce your launch or just keep your message simple with no frills.
  2. Website - Everything from a portfolio, business website, a site for your wedding, a blog or a personal site. 
  3. Commerce - A flipping huge and all in E-Commerce package for unlimited selling possibilities.

Each comes with a couple of pricing and feature options which you can check out on the Squarespace Website Pricing Page.

Once you've decided what type of site you'd like to build, then it's pretty easy to pick which flavour suits you best. 

PRO TIP - The Website Option comes with either 1 Product or up to 25 Products so you can use a basic version of the Commerce Package to get you started. Also, if you find that you have outgrown your chosen Subscription, you can very easily upgrade your package. 

 

3. WHAT TYPE OF SITE DO YOU WANT TO BUILD?

Get your bit of paper out and check it. Which of the categories does it fit into? Squarespace handily sections off the different types of template to make it a bit easier for your to choose.

This is a rough guide of the templates I’ve found to work best in different situations.

 

BUSINESS TEMPLATES - 

Five*/Bedford/Montauk/Hayden/Marquee/
Bryant/Fulton/Pacific/Adirondack/Aviator/
Om and Mercer/Kent which are new templates. 

* Five is super special because you can add a sidebar to each of your pages and is probably the most customizable template on the Website Subscription.

 

BLOG TEMPLATES -

With Side Bar - Five/Anya/Avenue/Bedford/
Bryant/Hayden/Julia/Montauk/Om  
New Templates - Skye/Foundry/Tudor/
Haute/Farro (some without sidebar)

 

PORTFOLIO SITES -

Avenue/Forte/Momentum/Wells/
Wesley/Ishimoto

(The names of the templates can be seen when you hover over the images.)

 

PRO TIP - There seems to be a shift in a blogging layouts that Squarespace has picked up on, and some of the new templates have a grid instead of the traditional sidebar to show off your blog posts. 

Also, Squarespace has recently introduced an E-Commerce Subscription Package where you have access to more specialised E-Commerce Templates. You can add a shop to any of the templates in the Website Subscription and still get some of these features which is more than enough for a small e-commerce site.

My favourite template at the moment is 'Five' because of the huge amount of customization and features that it has. 


4. EXAMPLE SITES AND READ ME PAGE

If you want to see how other designers have figured out how to brand the templates, then Squarespace has a showcase for each of the templates. Well, the older ones anyway! They show how far you can take your chosen template and how unique you can make them. 

Each of the templates comes with a set of Demo Pages that are installed for you to see how your template performs. Look out for the READ ME page as this lists the features of the template in a handy list or you can click over to Squarespace Template Help to see the template features in before you pick and install your template. 

And if that wasn't enough, there is a crazy good resource, Squarespace Comparison Chart from Miko Coffey. This is probably the most comprehensive list of Template features you'll find on the net. She's also excellent at keeping it up to date and will no doubt add the new templates that have just been released very soon. Shout out to Miko!

 

5. CHANGING TEMPLATES

After you have chosen your template, and you're not sure it's working out for you, you can always change it. This is one of the great things about Squarespace. The templates are just that, templates you can swap in and out easily and try different layouts. 

Plus,  you can test drive your new template without changing your website. Everything can be viewed, altered and branded before you activate the template. 

 

Skye, Five and Anya - Lovely!

 

6. MY TOP TEMPLATES

Here are my top three/four Squarespace Templates and why.

  1. FIVE - Probably the most customizable template that Squarespace has right now. The amount of flexibility and features is great, and I tend to use this for Client sites so I can brand the site easily without writing too much CSS.
  2. GALAPAGOS - This used to be a Website Template, but Squarespace have moved this up to the Commerce Subscription level which is a shame. I built my second Squarespace site using Galapagos because of the way it shows the shop grid which is beautiful and simple. 
  3. SKYE - This 'Blog' template uses the new trendy grid system of displaying blog posts instead of using a traditional sidebar. Although I've not used this, I love the Related Posts feature they've introduced and the Blog Navigation too. Squarespace is upping their game with blogging. 
  4. BONUS! - I also love ANYA because of the featured link (the bright pink link on my site in the navigation) and the button feature on the Banner Images.

 

And lastly...

Squarespace does a damn good job of creating templates that do 99% of the hard work for your website, and if they come up short, then you can always add a bit of CSS to jazz it up. 

And that's another blog post for another day...


Hope you enjoyed learning about Squarespace Templates and if you're interested in learning more about Squarespace...

Join the Squarespace Academy! 

You’ll get access to our Website Checker Tool, the first chapter of our new book and all the downloads from our posts all in one place for FREE.